Category: Advertising

May 31 2012

The Benefits of Article Marketing for Your Business

 

Article marketing has proven to be an effective way to promote your online business for a number of reasons. They are the equivalent of infomercials on the TV, giving both interesting factual information and promoting products and services that can help solve a particular problem.

In addition, article marketing can drive traffic to your site, help you get subscribers for your newsletter, and help you improve your page ranking with certain search engines. Links back to your site or products from other sites can be perceived by Google as a vote for your site, indicating that it is interesting and relevant to a particular keyword.

Article marketing is the use of factual articles on niche topics to help drive traffic to your own site. Rather than a pure promotional piece, these articles will contain high-quality information and leave the reader eager for more. On the top article directories such as Ezinearticles, your content will appear attractively and at the end of the article you will be allowed to give promotional data about yourself in the form of a resource box.

In your resource box you would put a brief biography of yourself and your contact information, including a link over to your site.

Article marketing has become a popular way to spread the word about your business in a non-spammy way on a wide variety of sites around the Internet. It has also been used to boost the rank of a site in the eyes of search engines like Google, though with the April 2012 Google update, these links are not only valued less highly, but can even be penalized under the Penguin algorithm update. (See Joan Mullally’s guide on 44 Marketing Trends in 2012 for more information.)

The more articles you put into the directory, the better will your site’s search results will be because the site will be considered to be more relevant. Sites at the top of Google’s search engine results pages will get more natural traffic, also termed organic traffic, that is, traffic that is not paid for, as compared with Pay Per Click (PPC) traffic.

Some article directories have gained a reputation for publishing rubbish, but there are still some reputable ones that will help add to your online presence. Look at it this way. If someone uses those sites regularly and types in dog training, you have a better chance of being found and ranking highly on the article directory for that key phrase than you do on Google.

If visitors then like what they read and click to find out more about you, you have the potential for a repeat visitor and perhaps even subscriber and customer.

Some people advocate publishing an incomplete article to force people to come to your site, but this seems fairly obvious as a marketing ploy and can be frustrating for the reader.

Other Internet marketers offer good articles off site at the directories but lead them to a rubbish site full of ads with the express goal of getting ad revenue from the clicks they get on the ads and banners they have put up all over the site. This is a valid way of making money, but certainly not loyal repeat visitors, which we feel are the life-blood of any long-term, sustainable online business.

Still other sites are publishing articles which are incomplete and poorly written in an effort to get as many up as possible for the sake of the links and the page rankings. The recent changes to the Google Panda update that first hit in Feb 2011 and has now hit online business owners in April 2012 can actually trigger a site review by a human being. If your site fails, you can end up in a penalty box for 3 to 6 months, which would cause the traffic at most sites to plummet.

The trend towards article marketing has also led to a lot of copied content or rephrased content, which we commonly refer to as spun content. Content spinning through software or human means was designed to help business owners rank highly for as many keywords as possible related to the niche they were working in.

With the recent Google changes, duplicate content and keyword stuffing in poorly written articles generated by a computer will also get you penalized if you are not careful.

Article marketing is not dead, but it is certainly in need of an overhaul in 2012. If you have been cranking out a lot of poor-quality articles, slow down and let your quality start to come through. Do not try to take short cuts. After all, the content that you produce is a reflection of the information products that you are trying to sell online. If you see all of your content on your site and article directories as a free sample of what people can look forward to if they buy your product, you might be able to make more sales of your products.

At the very least, you can start to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert on your niche without being seen as a spammer. Combined with other search engine optimization techniques, article marketing done correctly can still be a valuable source of traffic to your site and a measure of relevance and therefore rank so long as you know what Google is looking for, and what they are penalizing.

FURTHER READING
SEO Success Secrets: How to Master Search Engine Optimization Techniques for Continuous Free Traffic to Your Website

44 Top Online Marketing Trends in 2013: How to Use Them to Increase Your Profits

May 09 2012

How to Use Stories to Engage Your Customers

One of the best ways to build customer empathy is through telling stories. Stories suck people in, keep people entertained and can help get your message across in a much more heartfelt way.

When people listen to a story, they immediately put their guards down. People aren’t looking out for a sales pitch. Instead, they relax and let you take the lead.

When you tell a great story, your audience will not only love the experience, but also understand your point and connect with your brand more.

So how do you tell a great story?

==> Focus on the Opening and Closing

The two most important parts of the story are the beginning and the end.

The beginning of the story needs to catch people’s attention so they pay attention to the whole thing. You need to set up the “what’s in it for me” right from the get go. Let your audience know that an essential lesson is buried in the story and that they need to listen closely.

The end is equally important. This is where you reveal the moral of the story and tie it back to your audience’s real life. The end of your story should feel like an eye-opening experience to your audience.

==> Trim the Fat

Beginning storytellers often try to tell the story as completely and accurately as possible. Unfortunately, that often results in rambling and overly long stories.

Trim out as much of the story as you can, without losing the core of the story and without losing any of the punch.

Don’t worry about getting all the details in. It’s okay if the story is just slightly different than what happened, as long as you’re abbreviating and not lying.

Keep it simple and to the point.

==> Make the Characters Come Alive

One of the biggest things to pay attention to in the story is the characters, especially the main character.

The audience should be able to relate to the main character. As you’re telling the story, they should be able to vicariously experience the emotional arc that the character is going through.

Every story should have a beginning, where the problem is set up. Throughout the story, some sort of tension arises. The character battles through the story and eventually comes out victorious or defeated.

Throughout the story, the audience should get to know the character more and more until they feel like they somehow know this person.

==> Use Stories from Everywhere

The best storytellers use stories for all over their lives. Always be on the lookout for ways you can turn experiences you’ve had in your life into stories to help hammer your message home.

Storytelling is one of the best ways to build empathy with your customers. Focus on the opening, trim the fat, emphasize the characters and look for stories from all over your life.

Other Reading:

How to
Use Twitter for Viral Marketing

How to Start Using Twitter as an Effective Marketing Tool for Your
Business

Successful
Social Media Marketing In 15 Minutes A Day

Dec 12 2008

Where to Start: Advertising 101 Part 3

Kinds of Ads continued

* Direct mail advertising is another form of advertising which is trackable.  We have all received the envelopes full of different kinds of coupons or offers.

Even though industry states that this is mainly for business to business advertising, it also happens to hit individuals is becoming more popular, the junk mail you got in your box for many years, but which dwindled as the popularity of the internet increases.

However, despite postage and printing costs, it is making a come-back as internet companies are vying for your attention and eyeballs.

If you do decide to go the direct mail route, make sure you give a coupon code, or a special landing page, so you can determine just how successful each promotion has been.

* Radio ads on small stations that are affordable are also popular. These can be anything from public service announcements, to podcasts in which you will play a part, to local radio stations that are in line with the product or service you are offering.

* Penny-saver or classified ads can be inexpensive, and an effective way to migrate people online to see what your site has to offer.

* Television advertising is probably the most powerful of all advertising forms, simply due to the amount of people who watch TV as a leisure activity.  This is also the most visual and can hold more appeal simply for that reason.

There are a lot of internet TV and video based opportunities now, including YouTube, owned by Google.

Which brings us to Search Engine Marketing, also referred to as SEM or Pay Per Click (PPC). We cover it on this site in great depth, but briefly, you run ads based on keywords which describe your product or service, and Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines run your ads alongside the natural or organic search results. It is a cost-effective and very targeted way to get traffic interested in what you have to offer.

So, the communication levels and the markets you are trying to reach will determine where you will end up going for advertising.  Ask yourself how many buyers you want to reach and consider the demographics of this answer.

Make a few phone calls to ad agencies and see what they have to offer or what ideas they can give you, or shoot off a few emails to an online marketing company to see what is their main area of expertise. You can also hire search engine marketing companies who do nothing but PPC.

Any one of these approaches should be able to drive traffic to you provided that you have a good, clear message, and once there, it is up to you to convert them from browsers to customers.

So before you undertake any advertising, save yourself money and time by being sure you have tested your site and your conversion architecture and marketing message is all in place.

Dec 10 2008

Where to Start: Advertising 101 Part 2

Once you have made the decision to advertise and either hire help, or do it yourself, you need to start thinking about the kinds of advertising media which are accessible to you given your budget.

* Internet advertising is a popular form of advertising and generally less expensive than other forms of mass media.  It can get into more niches than newspapers, radio or magazines.

It usually takes the form of banners, but there is also sponsorship, links,  and webmalls.

Internet advertising also uses auto responders, email marketing/advertising, though you do have the choice not to use these.  Auto responders will automatically forward a response or information from an incoming email or a set subscription.

Then there is straight email marketing, in which you mail to a list, or you take out an ad with a popular ezine.

There are also blogging and article submission options.

Article submission is simply writing and submitting articles to directories. It is usually for free, though it does take time and effort.

With a blog, you can submit this to a directory as well, and again, it does not usually cost anything unless you want to have your own blog site, but it does cost in terms of time and effort.

Affiliate marketing is also available.  Affiliate marketing will also connect you to many other companies, and you will generate an additional income by using affiliate marketing which can help offset the overall cost of advertising.

Affiliate marketing does not cost you money–in fact they pay YOU for every  sale.  But it does take time and effort, and you will usually need to have an efficient way to contact your prospective buyers, such as email.

For a robust email program with autoresponders, you might want to consider Aweber

Make sure every link and campaign is trackable with its own unique code, so you can determine the success of each and do more of the most successful campaigns to get more bang for your buck, as well as your time and effort.

Dec 08 2008

Where to Start: Advertising 101 Part 1

Once you have arrived at the decision that you need to advertise your business or services, the next thing you need to decide is where to start.

This decision will depend in part on what you are advertising, and the marketing niche you are going after, as well as who will be managing the advertising, you or an agency.

With regard to this decision, you need to take a realistic look at how much you are prepared to spend. In addition, you then have to determine how much help you want or need, versus how much you are willing or able to do yourself.

Your budget will affect the types of advertising you can do, and this helps determine where you will start. For example, TV and radio are out for most of us, larger newspapers too. However, there are still a great number of offline and especially online advertising opportunities you can take advantage of.

Your advertising decision will also be based upon the type of business you have. If you are an online business, it makes sense to advertise online. However, with offline advertising being a bit more slim than it used to be, you might see the chance to capture market share by trying to migrate people offline to coming online to see all you have to offer.

Finally, you need to decide just how professional your ad copy is, and whether or not you need professional help to produce it, or to set up and manage the campaign.

Managing campaigns offline can be very different from the kind of technical, and tracking and testing skills required for an online campaign, so once again, think about all the components that are going to go into advertising your company first before moving onto the second level of decisions.

In the next section we will deal with various different kinds of advertising, and where to go for these types of advertising.